Israeli raids on West Bank protests leave 150 Palestinians injured
At least 150 Palestinians have been injured in fierce clashes between Israeli forces and anti-settlement protesters in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday.
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The violence erupted after Friday prayers when Israeli occupation forces attacked Palestinian protesters calling for the removal of Eviatar settlement outpost on Jabal Sabih in the town of Beita.
Palestine's official WAFA news agency said Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated metal rounds and stun grenades at Palestinians, injuring 150 protesters, of whom seven were hospitalized for being shot in the head while the others were treated at the scene.
WAFA said an ambulance was also hit by a teargas canister and another 79 protesters sustained suffocation from gas inhalation.
The illegal Eviatar settlement outpost near Nablus has become one of the focal points of clashes between settlers backed by regime forces and the Palestinians.
On Thursday, a human rights organization called on Israel to immediately implement a court order to evacuate extremist settlers from the outpost.
At least five Palestinians were recently shot dead by Israeli troops as they protested the appropriation of more than five acres of their land - previously used for the cultivation of olives - for the construction of the Israeli settlement of Eviatar.
The Israeli authorities have decided to turn Eviatar into a military base. But the Beita town residents have rejected the decision and pledged to continue their protests until the outpost is removed.
Tensions have reached boiling point as Israeli settlers continue their expropriation of Palestinian land, in some cases defying Israeli authorities by refusing to evacuate land that Palestinians depend on for their livelihoods.
However, decades of successive Israeli regimes' economic and political support for the settler movement, including prevarication and indifference to illegal outposts, have emboldened the settlers.
Villages in the occupied West Bank often hold Friday demonstrations against land confiscations, house demolitions, and Israeli settlements. Israeli forces usually respond to the protests with disproportionate violence.
In a separate development on Friday, Israeli forces stormed the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem al-Quds and attacked Palestinians holding a sit-in protest in solidarity with the owners of 17 houses threatened with displacement.
Local media said dozens of Palestinians sustained suffocation from gas inhalation as a result of the violent assault.
The Palestinian properties in the Silwan neighborhood, which has for years been targeted by illegal Israeli settler organizations, are claimed by Israeli extremists backed by Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing foundation that works to strengthen Jewish presence in East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Some of the Palestinian families in Silwan have been living there for more than 50 years since they were displaced from the Old City in the 1960s.
The Tel Aviv regime also plans to force out Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in an attempt to replace them with settlers. That plan sparked days of fighting between Gaza-based Hamas and the Israeli regime in May.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.
The United Nations Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.